Welcome to the studio...
I am nina, a self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist and maker based in Portland OR. I make surrealistic, dream-like paintings in digital and traditional media. I create seamless repeat pattern paintings. I write and illustrate children's books. I write about the creative process from a taoist perspective. I even print my art on bamboo textiles and offer original garments from the studio.
My creative philosophy...
Creativity rushes through my body endlessly. It is a life force that carries me through various expressions, sometimes obsessively. My core life purpose is to practice creativity in an inexhaustible, truly authentic manner, and to facilitate the same for as many people as I can.
The conventional artistic path focuses on making products, following external guidelines, developing established techniques, and fulfilling some sort of standards in the art world. I believe this is how creativity drains and depletes in an otherwise passionate artist. This approach leaves people wondering, where did my inspiration go? Why has my work not evolved? Why am I no longer excited about making new work?
True creativity is in the process, in the journey of discovery and invention. It follows inner guidance, imagination, and intuition. It develops from receptive listening and daring to enter the unknown. Technique develops as we work, in alignment with our inner expression. When we practice creativity this way, we find that it is ceaselessly enriching and deep.
Instead of accumulating more mental categories and ideas about ourselves, we shed them instead. We become free to honor ourselves in the moment of creation. This is the place where personal development, spiritual growth, and creative expansion become one and the same.
Our genuine feelings and passion become imprinted on our work, and it shows. This way of creative practice opens the portal to our best work, our own unique creative genius. Seeing this kind of work from myself and others is exhilarating and touching. I long to see more of this aliveness in the world.
I share the creative process via live streaming on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 2pm-5pm PST. This is a great way to get to know the studio better. You could also become a patron of the studio on Patreon and receive monthly updates full of new art, updates on projects, and creative inspiration.
More random facts about me...
• I was born in Taiwan, and immigrated to British Columbia, Canada at the age of 12. I moved to Boston for a PhD program in Sociology at Harvard university at 23, and studied China's economic development and gender inequality. Then, after completing my Masters and two years of teacher training at the university, and after much emotional turmoil, I decided to completely alter my career path to pursue my lifelong dream of being a working artist.
• I have two fur babies, Apollo (who inspired my first children's book My Apollo) and Pebbles (who joined the family 2 years after Apollo). They are both retired racing greyhounds. They are both sweet and easygoing and such love bugs.
• I knew I wanted to be a visual artist since I was 5 years old. I had an obsession with colored pens, pencils, and papers. At the department store, I always bypassed toys and clothes and snacks to get to office/art supplies. Can't say much has changed there! :D
• I started my journey as a working artist offering commissioned pet portraits. I painted pet portraits full-time for a year and a half, and loved every single fur baby I ever painted.
• Although much of my work in the studio is spiritually inspired and guided, I do not belong to any organized religion. I believe that our relationship with God is direct. The basic building block of all life is love. And compassion and care is our true nature.